My daughter’s Polytechnic course went online at the start of Covid-19 and full HBL is still ongoing. She is studying Marketing and tells me that online learning is not very different from being in a huge lecture hall where the lecturer is way up front, and the students are behind their computer screens.
In fact, she is enjoying off-campus learning because she doesn’t have to wake up early to get ready and spend an hour getting to school. They have a lot of gaps between classes and she can use it more productively at home.
I noticed a huge difference in her lifestyle, and the pace is more healthy and balanced. Here are 6 reasons why HBL has been a positive experience for the family.
We see her a lot more
Previously, she would leave the house at 8am and get home after dinner. Although she has empty slots between lessons, it doesn’t make sense to come home. She hangs out with her friends or they do their assignments in school. We see her during the weekends and have to pre-book her.
With HBL, she is home everyday! Besides the fixed lectures, she is on zoom with her group mates as they work on their projects together, and she can eat her lunch while keeping tabs on what is going on.
Healthier home-cooked meals
At poly, they usually eat at the food court. Home-cooked food has less salt, sugar and MSG and she can have freshly cut fruits and salads. She also helps me prepare lunch for Kate and Kate is overjoyed to have her sisters at home when she gets home.
Bonding with siblings
Once they enter poly or Uni, they have an active school and social calendar and you hardly see them. Just by being at home more, the in-between pockets of time allows them to spend time with each other. These are the simple memories of home they will remember and which will keep them close. Kate said that the best thing about this period is having her siblings at home!
Taking elderly relatives for errands
My teens seldom get to visit their 90-year old grand aunt and she quipped that during these past 2 months, she has seen them more than in the past 5 years! She only goes out during the weekdays to avoid the crowds, and they are now able to drive her for her medical appointments and to take her to the wet market to buy from her favourite stalls on days they have free blocks of time between their lectures.
Teaching Kate Chinese
Kate is doing higher Mother Tongue and the work that she comes home with is beyond what she can cope with by herself. I personally do not agree with this philosophy whereby parents are expected to coach them with their daily work or resort to tutors. I’m glad the teenagers are home now to help out because her Chinese teacher has been dojo-ing me!
Saves time, saves money
HBL has freed up a lot of time, and she is able to save money on transport and extras like starbucks, snacks or bubble tea when out with friends.
She is hoping that online learning will continue to be tapped into as much as possible, with a hybrid of on-campus classes only where necessary. I do hope so too!
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Michelle Choy is an Occupational Therapist by day and mum of 6 by night. Besides the already very demanding job of managing 5 teenagers and one 7-turning-17 tween, she is also Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre to develop children in areas like resilience and executive function, to survive today’s volatile world. She is also a parenting coach and has been featured on national TV, radio and print media.